Survivor Cambodia Episode 2 Liveblog

We’re back for more live coverage of Survivor: Cambodia! Live blog with us (East Coast time) on Twitter and Storify!

Wrap Thoughts and Three Up and Three Down:
Ok so I think we can conclude one thing from this episode: Varner and Wentworth are the power players on Ta Keo.  Varner is playing a fantastic game, but I love how seamlessly Wentworth slid from being in a closely allied minority three to the majority.  Smooth.  Over on Bayon we still know nothing other than Savage is getting such a ridiculously over the top hero edit, that even I find it unbelievable.  (Nah just kidding, I love it!)  We barely heard from anyone else except Jeremy who also got a big emotional confessional.  Fishbach looked a lot better though, so maybe the impending swap is something that revives his relevance.
Three Up:
Varner, Terry (seriously I can’t believe how good he was here at helping turn Abi), Jeremy, Stephen (only one way it could have gone!)
Three Down:
Spencer (the Charlie Browning continues!), Keith (he didn’t say anything), Abi (Pyrrhic victory, girl is obviously the villain of the season).
Savage Corner: I still love Savage.  Duh.  Also he is getting an unbelievably glowing edit.  It terrifies me.
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Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
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337 thoughts on “Survivor Cambodia Episode 2 Liveblog

    1. I know I am going to make some Savage fans angry, but he came off as a big hypocrite after his story. Yes, he did do the right move by tightening his alliance against Stephen. But, Stephen had apt reason to think that Jeremy was using his emotions to find an idol because just a few days before that, they all knew that Stephen was looking for an idol. In fact, according to Fishbach’s blog, anytime anybody left their shelter area, everybody else assumed that they were hunting the idol. So, it wasn’t that far of a reach to assume that Jeremy was looking for an idol.

      1. There is only one Savage fan here and it is me. Everyone else seems to have turned on him. I hope I am a little tongue in cheek about it when recapping though

          1. Oh I think I make clear that it was hilariously over the top in that “dude we get it, you have an amazing life and a model wife.” But he also had everyone crying. which was funny in a very different way

          2. Yeah, it just felt weird to include it except for the fact that that scene was one of the two scenes we got from Bayon.

          3. As I said, his insanely over the top hero edit actually has me super worried for him. It is too good of an edit. This show loves his weird macho dadness

          4. Sorry for being repetitive. Yeah, I would be worried about him and Joe. Actually, I would be more worried about Joe because Joe has had many weird confessionals where he doesn’t actually talk about wanting to win, but wanting to have fun/an adventure. That’s not a winner’s edit.

          5. Oh Joe is gone gone gone. But Savage i think is going to be a big late game kill. Like Joe could be gone soon, but Savage at least is here for awhile.

          6. Yeah, I can see this edit being the stereotypical “winner’s edit” that gets averted towards the end.

          7. if this was old school survivor it would just be a straight winner’s edit. Until it collapses I’m going to enjoy that the show apparently loves him even more than I do

          8. probably neither. Joe probably ends up on a different tribe and is gone by the time they would reunite

          9. I worry for if Savage ends up on a tribe with Stephen as there is obviously no loyalty there.

          10. It would be hilarious if they wind up on a tribe together and have to work together and actually realize “hey he isn’t that bad!” won’t happen, but it would be really funny

          11. I honestly think that if they came in with no preconceptions about each other that that could have been the case. No chance now though

      2. The way that scene was filmed was so weird. They were all huddled around him like he was the camp counselor. Do they get Stories with Savage every night by the campfire?

      3. I suspect Savage gave that confessional after talking to Jeremy. If that were the case, it’s not as self-absorbed as it looked in the edit.

      4. I would have liked it better if he had been a hypocrite! That would have been game. Instead, I felt like he was actually buying the nonsense he was selling.

        1. His loyalty spiel threw up red flags about him not being able to play the game any differently to last time.

          1. Yeah, skills, not character traits. Stephen can game all day but he struggles interacting with the other players, while Savage oozes charisma but has no idea how to work a vote.

    2. Probst was so moved by Savage’s story that he included in his tease to Dalton Ross by saying that “there’s a truly romantic story of love” on this episode. Good grief, Probst!

        1. I thought that the long rumored showmance between Monica and Joe was happening. Nope, it was just Savage and his first world problems.

        1. Everyone is in love with Savage, I enjoyed everyone’s teary eyes and Stephen’s face says “so?”.


        I had already half written a showman blog in my head. Now what am I going to write about??

          1. I’d be super jealous if Emma got to write that post. That would be such a fun topic. Especially trying to rank them.

    3. I straight up laughed out loud at the cheesiness of Savage the moment and all of them falling for it. “My wife, god she’s so pretty, I love her, we got married” dude everyone loves their wife (obvs not everyone).

          1. I guess the secret of married people is that they love talking about how happy they are to be married. It’s how they bond

          2. Yeah, that’s true. I was referring to how the Bayon alliance seems to be strictly on being married and how she was not only single (I assume), but divorced.

      1. So was I. Laughing and standing in awe that they managed to capture his unique brand of bland cheesiness so perfectly and just as I was preparing the slow-clap, the camera panned, showing everybody in tears.
        Then I wondered for a minute if I’m destined to be a lonely cynic for all my life, but fortunately Abi happened again before I could sink deeper into depression.

        Gotta love Abi-Maria!

      2. I literally thought my TV had skipped ahead and that I had missed the actual point of the story. Oh, your wife is beautiful and you love her? Amazing.

        1. It clearly helps him bond with his tribe and I’m guessing they were all telling stories but God was is cheesy, plus I enjoyed the editors playing with us giving us music cues that said something awful might have happened to her and then WHAM she just went to California for a month or something once.

  1. Savage was correct when he said in your interview with him that Terry would stand up and comfort a crying girl getting (seemingly) bullied.

  2. Once again the “adapt or die” theme was driven home. Can Spencer get on board?I’m not going to call anything until the swap, but I think Fish may still suffer the same fate if he’s on the Old School tribe. Spencer has the birth of a growth arc, though. And Varner, damn….

        1. #crotchframing will get old never. But honestly, even without that, Varner knows Spencer is a dangerous element and not something to be kept around.

        1. That was hysterical. I should’ve noted it because it boggled the mind that Woo was schooling them on asset management

      1. Woo kept coming back to/voting with Tony because he was always obviously in charge. Not going with the people who are 2 out of 9 is not an improvement.

        1. Oh, not flipping was the easy move. But he did show some social chops, which I didn’t think he had in him.

          1. I also think Shirin and Spencer were uniquely poorly positioned to work with Woo. This is a woman who never thought he was worth talking to, and a man who spent his final tribal question opportunity calling Woo a dog.

            And not in the nice way that I think of Woo as an adorable puppy.

          2. Her not thinking Woo was worth talking to is a colossally stupid move on her part. EVERYONE is worth talking to. EVERY ONE.

      2. Dang it Mark, you stole my thought. Woo’s out to prove that he doesn’t just listen to the last people that talk to him, he listens to Tony.

      3. I thought that Woo scene was going to segue into an episode where Shirin and Spencer rallied and somehow came up with the numbers…watching Woo shut them down was just brutal (although everything he said was spot on).

        1. I kinda loved it. But I always love seeing bad gameplay punished. No matter who is doing it.

    1. I’m really looking forward to the tribe switcheroo, because the adapt or die theme will be big.

  3. So depressed about that boot. But damn, how do fans like Shirin & Spencer not realize that ignoring an alliance member crying alone is a HUGE mistake?!?

    1. Yeah no excuses from them except maybe they thought they had the votes to turn on her and had decided to do so

  4. I loved this episode. I’m such a sucker for the plot line of “failing to take care of terrible player in your alliance leads to you getting burned.” I never knew I needed Abi Maria on this season so much, but she is just destroying things.

    Also, I love how the big plot line both episodes that tries to swing a vote is an Abi/ Peih Gee fight and by the end they just end up voting together.

    And there’s some major Spencer déjà vu happening here. The parallel between the first couple episodes of Cagayan is crazy.

    1. I’m such a sucker for the plot line of “failing to take care of terrible player in your alliance leads to you getting burned.”

      I loooooove great idiot management. I’m less enthusiastic about reaping the rewards of poor idiot management, entertainment value wise, but it was great tonight because Shirin went home for treating Abi like Abi treated Lisa and Skupin.

      1. Shirin not being able to see Abi as a Shirin is brutal. I mean i love you Shirin but you gotta see that!

        1. Let’s be real. If it was Peih Gee and someone talking crap on Abi, Shirin would have been safe. But the fact that Abi (and all of them) know what Shirin went through on Worlds Apart came back to bite her once Abi realized that Shirin was basically being a bully towards Abi who was being a bully towards Peih Gee. Yeah, the bully cycle gets convoluted but still, Shirin should have known better.

          1. Yeah I mean Abi wasn’t right, but right the way they reacted to her (as shown) has her being bullied for being well Abi. These people chose to align with Abi remember, knowing full well what she was like

          2. Considering that Abi wasn’t that far away from their shelter, anyone from the new school alliance could have came up to her as well to say that they were sorry at the same time as Terry.

          3. Yeah I feel that Shirin made the same mistake she did after she and Max got out So. She doesn’t front run well.

          4. She is also bad about checking her alliances until it is too late. She did the same thing with Carolyn when they swapped to Nagarote.

          5. I do agree that in a sense Shirin got voted out because Worlds Apart. If you look, most people were bullying Abi at that point, and no one besides Terry went to help, but Abi must have felt more betrayed by Shirin, because (in her mind) Shirin knew what she was going through.

          6. What Abi said is how she felt: Shirin’s betrayal was the hardest because she expected empathy from her. Because EVERYTHING Abi says is what Abi is feeling. She has no filter. Whether or not her feelings are legitimate from a reality standpoint (not reality TV, but actual reality) is another question that doesn’t really matter in context of the game. If you’ve decided to ride with Abi (which Shirin clearly did when she targeted Vytas instead of her), then you need to deal with that shit. If not, it’s your own damn fault.

  5. Ok seriously guys, i mentioned it above but Terry (Terry!) played some really good Survivor tonight. Varner might turned that vote without him, but it would have been a lot harder

    1. He made a connection with Abi. It was dark connecting with dark. I dont think he can do it successfully with the normals out there.

      1. You are a terrible person ? Me too ! This is ment to be
        *and they ran off hand in hand into the post-apocalyptic sunset*

    2. I seriously doubt it that Varner would have turned the vote without Terry. The only way he convinced Pee-gee and especially Kelly is because he already arrived at them with the majority. Varner was great (again), but Terry was MVP tonight.

      1. I did say might because I think Peih Gee agrees with the Abi goat strategy, but have to agree that Terry brought the idea home

        1. The one thing I liked about Terry in Panama was his bond with Astronaut Dan only because it was kinda weird to see two guys on Survivor geek out over flying planes

    3. He kept talking about having to play a more social game and I kept thinking “dude, you gotta play a more strategic game” and then he used his new social skills to make a great move. I still worry about his strategic abilities, and by worry I mean hope he’s bad at it.

  6. Wasn’t it Kass that said that she expected them to swap immediately to 3 tribes?

    Oh, John… I’m conflicted. Part of me is feeling bad for you, but the other part (i.e., 90%) is just laughing out loud.

    1. No pretty sure it was Terry because i remember thinking “seriously Terry that is actually a great idea”

          1. I mean he isn’t wrong that three seasons is popular recently and great for the game. And he was on a season with 4 tribes.

          2. Oh duh, I forgot about Panama’s original set-up. Is he one of the few that has now been on all four tribe size configurations?

          3. pretty sure. Only Panama and Cook had 4 tribes, three tribe returnees only appeared on Philippines and All-Stars and no All-star has been on four tribes.

          4. I have a theory that in a super All-star season they might. but it seems unlikely honestly. Only 5 people on a tribe is pretty damn small. whereas 6 is small but doable

          5. Yeah. For a final season that either All Stars or All Winners, I could see them doing multiple swaps to screw them up.

          6. 30, 5 tribes of 6, make it last 49 days and fuck with them throughout, surprise votes, surprise challenges, surprise swaps.

          7. I think we can take “final season” out of our vocabulary for a good long time now. Survivor is like the Tonight Show or Jeopardy. It’s going nowhere.

          8. He’s a fighter pilot I assume that means he’s smart and ok at maths. 20-2=18, 18/3= 6. Plus Survivor likes a 3 tribe format at the moment.

  7. Did that meeting of Terry and Abi make anyone else’s skin crawl? Good strategy or not I don’t want to see two awful people talking to each other.

      1. I don’t know if I could watch Panama right now because every time Shane was on the screen I would get angry at America and every time Shane wasn’t on the screen I would just be sad and scared.

  8. Who else think the reasoning behind Shirin over Spencer was muscles ? That tribe can’t really afford to lose more challenge, it’s so uneven. (Wich of course is why production is shaking things up next week)

      1. You mean between Spencer and Shirin? Because if she were to be picking the target it probably would have been Peih-Gee, right? But I can see them letting her have some influence in choosing between the two targets (as long as she arrives at wanting Shirin out, which I think was the obvious choice for reasons stated above and below).

    1. Everyone?

      If she’s not in your alliance, what does Shirin really have to offer? Post-merge, there’s the not being a threat/possible goutiness. But this early? She’s no help in challenges, has never been shown to be a help at camp, and spends her time plotting on ways to get you out.

      1. Seems obvious, but on reddit (and some people on avclub) seemed to think she was booted solely for being too emotionaly intelligent, too threatening or something like that. Some other think it’s a dumb choice and that they should have jumped at the occasion of getting rid of Spencer.

        Your spot-on description had me laugh, though

        1. Wait, wait, wait… too emotionally intelligent?!? After tonight people are saying that?!?

          After “Alright Woo, I’m going to spell this out for you because I think you to be stupid and don’t think you’ll ever pick up on how superior I am acting right now, even though I have not had a single conversation with you in six days”. THAT emotionally intelligent?

          1. Dude this is reddit. Varner said she knows “how to talk to someone like she’s their best friends” and so they believe him

          2. Touche.

            Just was surprising to hear since my entire thesis is going to be based around the idea that she’s not good at the people stuff. Otherwise known as “Survivor”.

      2. i wouldn’t even say she has post-merge goatiness going for her – too much of a schemer, well-spoken and can be endearing

    1. What a surprise! I bet it’s totally coincidental timing that he’s going to be recapping this specific week. The stars must have aligned perfectly!

      (There’s no way Dan didn’t know that Shirin was the second boot.)

          1. I’m sure he did. I just hope he didn’t because then it makes you wonder if he begged to do that particular episode because of what he knew happened or if he just happened to be assign to that episode.

          2. I’d strongly lean towards the former. Partly because I read a recap of some other interview he’d done on a podcast, and it pretty much confirmed my assessment of Dan- and not the one I wrote preseason- was accurate.

    2. Dan was a guest at the live RHAP tonight for a hot five minutes. Eliza was there too and couldn’t even pretend to hide her disdain. Highlight of the night.

      1. Why would Dan go to RHAP? Did he want to confront Rob C in person for his slanderous accusations that Dan might not be a god of Survivor?

        1. He came with Max I think. On the commercial break made everyone do a video wishing Joe happy birthday. When he was at the mic he stressed how second chances are great and allow people to change, saying he wished nothing but the best for Shirin, yada yada, but then agreed with the parallels Probst made about Shirin and Abi getting bullied (Rob called bull on that thankfully). Eliza was the other guest at the mic and was rolling her eyes the whole time and couldn’t say one nice thing about him. It’s worth a listen just for that.

          Oh and when Dan was asked which guest should take his spot next, of course he goes “Gotta go with the guy!” and calls Mike Snow. I groaned.

          1. “Oh and when Dan was asked which guest should take his spot next, of course he goes “Gotta go with the guy!” and calls Mike Snow. I groaned.”

            I just listened to it, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but this is actually unfair to Dan. What he said was “My fellow Mainer. Gotta get this guy up here.” Which is completely reasonable, especially considering that Eliza subbed in Francesca.

          2. Thank you, I actually meant to point this out, but of course I forgot because I was driving to work when I heard it. But I assumed she probably couldn’t hear.

      2. why would they have Dan as a guest. I just lost a lot of respect for rob because of that. I am actually totally serious. the man should not be given a platform

        1. I agree. But some people were going up to him asking to take pictures with him! Saying they were fans! It was surreal.

        2. I haven’t listened, but my GUESS is that he just showed up to the event, and then walked up to the open mic (like Shirin did last year).

        3. I just got to that part in the podcast. Rob was inviting former contestants from the audience for short segments on stage, who then got to nominate who comes after them. Bryce nominated Dan for “debate purposes”, prompting some cheers and some boohs.

  9. Overall, grade “A” episode. I never hated much on Shirin, but I’m well satisfied by her exit. She made a big mistake, and her opponents were strong enough to capitalize on that. That is all you can ask. And the 180-change in the tribe alliances made this episode way more exciting than it would be otherwise.

    Also, I think it spoke well with the theme (so far) of the season (second chances), which is always nice when it happens with reality shows. About Shirin, in particular, in a sense the fact that she was so quick to bully people when she was in power puts a different light on her previous season. But I don’t want to enter that debate.

    Oh, Savage is married to a top-lawyer-top-model-world-traveler wife. What a surprise. It is also interesting how everyone (besides Stephen) was crying their hearts out with that story. Stephen, by the way, which will receive the best news of his life next episode.

    1. Unless he gets the Sierra from last year draw and be stuck on the same tribe with the majority of the alpha male alliance that hates him.

        1. Good point…unless they lose on purpose. After all, Peih Gee could be on his tribe and she says that she is good at puzzles…..

          1. Of course that is true, unless they told her it was get rid of someone else like Kass or Abi-Maria. This scenario would be the smarter version of the Drewchebag gambit from SJDS.

          2. I kinda want Peih Gee and Abi to be together forever in this game. It is beautiful how much they hate each other.

          3. I would like them to be 2 of the final 3 and somehow work well together to get there and then rip each other apart in the FTC.

    2. You know the editing of this episode was really great because it never made us think it would flip around for Shirin and Spencer but the way it drove home all their burned bridges and the way Varner and Terry flipped that majority was really great. More episodes like this Survivor!

      1. Varner is THE STAR of this season, whatever the result I want a 3rd season of Varner already.

        1. Varner was a star before this season even began. If he had been the first boot I would’ve still been stumping hard for him to come back. What a gem that man is.

          1. Two episodes in and I am completely in love with him. I don’t care what he does there is no way I’m not rooting for his victory. This move was immense, he took out his targets on both alliances in his tribe. His explanation to Terry about why he flipped on them was brilliant. I LOVE HIM.

          2. Also imagine if you’d missed the pre-season and started this season to VARNER. It would have been a revelation.

          3. I watched Australia for the first time probably around February and my immediate reaction was “wow, Jeff Varner is great, it’s a shame he’ll never play again.” So this is all kinds of amazing for me.

    3. Oh, I forgot to mention the Joe-is-a-Demigod edit. I seriously wonder what would have happened if Joe started playing in the first ~10 seasons. His fan-base would make Rupert look like Francesca.

      1. I have to give Joe credit for realizing that he has to win everything now so that no one even gets the thought for a moment that now is the time to get him gone.

      2. I disagree, Rupert’s charm was that he was an unconventional character. He had his sob story about being a fat little bullied kid. He sew himself a skirt into a flowery dress, proving to be confortable with his masculinity enough that he could do typically feminine stuff, and got mocked for it by the local island jocks. That was all before he started to believe in his own hype and got insufferable.

        Joe looks too much conventionnaly pretty, and doesn’t seems to have any trauma.
        Not everybody can relate to being a-ma-zing at everything.

          1. Exactly. If you want to know how Joe would’ve looked in an early season, just watch Colby’s edit.

          2. But, Colby was a better strategist and social player in general. Look at what he did to the Kucha people at the merge for a great example of his AO gameplay.

          3. I actually think Joe is a fine strategist and social player, but I think modern survivor views a triple threat like that as threatening rather than someone people want to align with.

          4. Josh Wigler has said that when you talk to Joe it’s obvious he knows exactly how great he is, which is probably a huge detriment to his social game.

          5. To be fair, there’s probably not much to be humble about if you’re Joe and WA is so fresh in everybodies mind that a low-key approach wouldn’t fool anybody and I imagine could be off-putting.

            But isn’t there at least some modesty in taking the time to greet that friend of Kass’ daughter(or who it was, as she described in her vote-in viedeo here)?

          6. I don’t think Joe generally did much campaigning, nor should he have. He was a lock without saying a word.

            And you can be a nice human being without being modest. I’m not saying Joe should be humble, either. He’s got a lot going for him, and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise.

    4. I think she made a big mistake especially considering her issues in her own season. I think this was the obvious flaw in hers and Spencer’s games, the ability to go be a sympathetic person in that situation. Peih-Gee is the one who would get “look, I was just keeping Abi solid, I do agree with you”, you can’t say to Abi “hey look, I knew we were 100% so I had to sure up Peih-Gee”.

      1. I think one of the big overlooked social skills in the game is knowing which allies need support and reassurance and which can function without it. It’s especially critical during the reward portion of the post-merge game

        1. Could not agree with you more. The best of all time (Kim) had this skill in spades, coupled with the ability to lie so easily.

          1. Well I mean she is the greatest, people may find her season boring but it’s because she played it so perfectly.

          2. And that’s fair. It is a boring season with a mediocre cast. Also, they never gave her the game-dominating edit that Boston Rob got because they were trying to at least make some effort at disguising the winner.

          3. I think it’s finally gained traction that Kim is incredible (partly because Rob C gave her his blessing), but for a long time those of us who instantly recognized Kim’s genius had to keep fighting against the “Yeah, but she played against idiots” argument.

          4. She kind of did play against idiots, though. It doesn’t change the fact that Kim is amazing, and I think she could have dominated against a much better cast, but those people were dumb as fuck.

            Same as with Yul. Sometimes you’re just better than you have to be.

          5. I agree, the question you really need to ask is: were they idiots or did she make them look like idiots? I think the answer is closer to she made them look like idiots than they were the dumbest cast ever (Fabio beat them).

          6. There were some idiots in that cast. But there are idiots in every cast. I don’t know that the concentration was significantly higher in Kim’s season.

          7. I feel like Kim took the smarter ones into her alliance and made them feel safe. (smarter is obviously a relative term)

        2. I’m wondering if their misread wasn’t quite as bad as the edit made it look, though. I find it plausible that they thought Abi was a the tighter number and that they had to do work to make sure Peih-Gee knew they weren’t going to let Abi push her around.

          I mean, they fucked it up badly, because Peih-Gee has thicker skin that that and Abi starts crying the minute she’s told she’s not going to be able to lord over other people, but I don’t think it’s the worst read ever.

  10. We have never had a season with this many players getting last-name treatment this early: Savage, Deitz, Varner, Wigglesworth, (Fishbach, too?)

    1. I think a big reason for that is the common first names of Jeff, Stephen, and Kelly (need to distinguish them from name’s past). But Savage and Deitz are the traditional bro-honorific versions. Although his name IS Savage. How can you not use that?

      1. That is the main reason Jon targeted Savage. He wanted to do a Macho Man Randy Savage impression for the vote out speech.

      2. Yeah, if your last name is Savage, people are going to call you Savage. He could be Colton and still get called Savage.

  11. I just realized that there is not a so subtle theme of the supposed brains of this season (Spencer, Shirin, Stephen) being taken out/threatened by the brawny people of this season (Terry, Woo, Jeremy, and Savage). I hope that is not a running theme this season, because I want a brainy type to win!

    1. if the story is actually that the brawny types are playing the game smart then that could be an interesting story. Like Jeremy has been shown as a strategic thinker (even if it hasn’t always worked)

          1. Varner is truly fantastic. He’s a good strategist, he’s a good narrator, and he’s a good character. Varner is a good example of someone who didn’t let his second chance go to waste. Even if he gets booted next week, he still made the show better and improved his reputation.

    2. The “Brains” deserve to lose and lose bad because they are stupid. They buy into the game loves big moves when no it doesn’t the game loves relationships. The winner is always the person that has the better relationships and that the so called smart ones cant figure it out is just comedy to me.

      1. Because knowing relationships are important and being good at them are different things. Spencer and Shirin may very well know this, they just don’t have it.

      2. The game loves both. You can win on one or the other but you have the best chance if you have the brains to see which big moves are needed and which relationships you can develop.

  12. The MRA’s are going to have a field day with this. I am not at all looking forward to the Survivor community discourse this week.

    1. I mean Shirin made mistakes here. I wish people could talk about that instead of thinking that they justify all the awfulness last season.

      1. I think considering her edit last season she should have been more sympathetic to Abi but Shirin’s mistake wasn’t that, it was playing so fucking hard and obviously immediately. I think I’d personally have leaned towards taking out Spencer as he has Tasha in the game who he could work with after the swap but over all I love Varner’s play, he’s taken out one person from each alliance who he felt threatened by.

          1. RIGHT? I can see why Woo and Kass are seen as their own entities but Spencer and Tasha come on, that has to be one of the more threatening pre-existing relationships.

        1. I’m not sure this is true. I think if you’re Shirin there’s a solid chance you watch Philippines and see Abi as a bully who didn’t like being cut down to size (which, let’s be honest, she was) which is not someone you’re going to be sympathetic with if you have your own history of bullying and abuse.

          1. In the preseason interviews Shirin mentioned wanting to ally with Abi because she thought Abi’s situation, while not precisely like hers, was unfair to Abi.

        2. It was both things.

          And I don’t believe for a second Spencer and Tasha are going to work together out of anything other than necessity.

          1. As I said to you before, it doesn’t matter if they would work together, it matters that there will be the perception that they are friends and will work together.

          2. Yes, it’s a big enough threat, Shirin holds no threat, even a minimal possibly imagined threat is bigger.

          3. Shirin holds the threat of holding you back in the next immunity challenge. You don’t need to vote out threats in this portion of the game, ask Shirin about how well targeting Vytas worked for her.

          4. How will did it go for Varner? He got two threats he was worried about and stuck himself at the top of the tribe…

  13. Sorry Matt, I thought Savage came across super smarmy here. And I’m not at all biased coming from a live podcast where the audience cheered every time Stephen was on screen…

    Felt really bad for Shirin. But I too love the Abi experience. Varner nailed it.

      1. Just because it takes me a little longer than everyone else doesn’t mean I don’t support you!

          1. It’s important to note that one can still be rooting hard for Stephen without thinking that Savage is a big mean bully.

          2. I don’t think Savage is a big mean bully but I did reflexively make the jerk-off motion during his spiel.

          3. Lol. Nah, during the second part where he was going off about where he was going off about how Stephen had no dignity.

    1. I was so sad not to be able to attend Live KIAs last night, I was flying back from CA all day and landed in Philly at 5:00. I almost bought a ticket when they went on sale thinking I technically could have made it up in time, but I think holding off was the wise choice. Was it fantastic?

  14. Abi-Maria “C4” Gomes, blowing shit up since 2012. I did not vote for her to return, but now I see why others did. Thank you, voters smarter than I, for giving us this gift of ineptitude and volatility.

    1. She gave us exactly what she thought she’d give us. Unfortunately, some of us hoped she’d give it to other targets.

          1. Says the guy who was in an alliance with Ozzy.

            Nah, in all seriousness, I never knew Yul told Cochran that but it makes perfect sense, because that’s the thing Yul does best. One of the things that mystifies me about Micronesia and Philippines is that Yul explains exactly how and where to use Penner, and nobody seems to learn his lessons. And I say this as someone who may love Penner almost as much as you love Savage.

          2. I am also someone who loves Penner almost as much as I love Savage. And Ozzy is very very predictable. Yul knew exactly what he was getting there

          3. I was joking, but that is probably true of Cook Islands Ozzy. I’m not sure if it’s true of the Ozzy who decides he’s gonna be a gamer.

          4. yeah but Cook Islands ozzy just wanted to be a survivor and win challenges and Yul was like fine do that and vote with me

    2. This is exactly why I did. Every season needs some unstable quantities, an Abi, a Keith or a Kass. This is because dealing with the unstable players and with the stupid players is a big skill a winner should have.

      1. yep I had the same reasoning. I think at some point I realized we needed a backup Kass because Kass wasn’t likely to last long.

        1. Well Savage seems to have quelled the savage Kass. She has been neutered by the depth of his love for his wife.

          1. Kass has admitted to having the biggest crush on Savage, so I think that has definitely played a part

  15. If you guys only knew how smugly John kept shutting down my suggestions that Abi-Maria would burn Shirin…

    1. To be fair, I smugly shoot down any suggestions you make, whether they relate to Shirin or not.

  16. You guys, the girl I’m seeing just dyed her hair purple and it may have struck me last night how hard I’m going to have to struggle not to call her Purple [Sharculese’s Lady’s Name Here]. It does not help that her name sounds similar to Kelly.

  17. Theoretical silver lining for Shirin: The better Jeff Varner does in this season, the more likely it is that Sean Rector will be asked back.

    1. so inside talk: when Savage did the podcast he skyped with us under his wife’s name for some reason. It had a thumbnail of her on it, and all I will say is, yes his wife is attractive.

  18. As someone who likes Shirin and secretly wishes we could hang out, this was a tough episode to watch. It was hard to tell from the edit though — were they all just making fun of Abi-Maria for all that time, or was it just one remark and then footage of them laughing about other stuff? Maybe I just want to feel better about it 🙂

    But, while Shirin missed a huge opportunity to do major alliance damage control, I thought it was pretty unfair to put the entire responsibility of making Abi feel “good” on Shirin, just because she had a rough time in her last go. The moral equivalency of calling someone out on agressive/nasty behavior vs. telling someone they have no soul becausetheir background/skin-color/religion does not match yours — pretty ridiculous. While I felt a *bit* bad for Abi sitting alone while they joked around at her expense, Probst propping her up as a huge victim (as if her antagonistic and confrontational behavior had NOTHING to do with how people treated her) just annoyed me, and the smirk on her face made me physically agitated. Not to condone people laughing and making fun of her (not only is it unnecessarily mean, but NOT HELPING YOUR GAME), but it’s not the same thing as what happened to Shirin last season. NOR is it Shirin’s job to be the poster child for being sweet and kind to everyone on Survivor who cries.

    So, in short, Shirin missed an opportunity, and wound up being the perfect scapegoat. Terry played this really intelligently, and I’m surprised Shirin didn’t see them talking and piece together what was going to happen. Spencer was the new Max, and she made the same mistake. It’s unfortunate, and I’m going to miss seeing what would have happened had she made it to the swap.

    P.S. Shirin if you’re reading this, and you’re in the NY area, give me a call. We should hang out

    1. so i don’t have anything to this except yes i agree on all counts. (except the NY part. I live in Philly)

        1. that sounds pretty cool, but its a little inconvenient for non-car owning me and either way i’m going to back here on wednesday doing this live blog thing on the regular so going out is not really in the cards. But thanks for letting me know

          1. Thanks for covering the live blog, you’re doing a great job, even if you are a shameless Savage apologist.

    2. As someone who doesn’t like Shirin and has absolutely no desire to spend any time with her…I entirely agree (except the NY part). I wish the show had focused more on how Varner/Terry/Peigh Gee managed to shift the Abi storm onto Shirin, rather than taking the resulting “uniquely insensitive Shirin” narrative as reality.

    3. This. I get that Abi has no clue that anything that happened in Philippines was her fault, but we don’t have to pretend that that’s true.

    4. I rewatched Philippines during the off season. Abi was a thousand times worse to people in her own alliance than Shirin or Peih Gee was to her. Abi continually berated Lisa and then complained about being betrayed when Lisa finally flipped. Abi has no ability to recognize her own bad behavior, and only ever sees herself as a victim. I can understand Shirin not having the emotional energy to make the right game play where Abi management is concerned.

      1. The thing about Abi is they took a huge gamble when they decided to vote out Vytas not her, they could have done Vytas three days later (obviously they don’t know that at the time). Abi is a huge wildcard who takes a huge amount of effort to control and she will eventually freak out and if you don’t deal with it perfectly she will flip.
        I’ve always thought that Denise who may be the calmest, most emotionally rational person to ever play the game flipped out on Abi to be a major indictment of her as a person. I did vote for her to play again though, for exactly this reason.

        1. Absolutely. I think Shirin drastically underestimated how volatile Abi is, which in its self is an indictment of Shirin’s social game.

          1. Precisely. I’ve had many people attempt to tell me how terrible Shirin is at playing Survivor, but they rarely make what I think is the strongest argument: Don’t align with Abi-Maria! Too much risk.

  19. Slightly off-topic, but I just took a venture over to the AV Club comments…what’s happening over there? Yeesh.

    1. You mean my love for Woo don’t you?

      No, Shirin is a polarizing figure and that’s going to lead to some nastiness.

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